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Detroit teachers ratify new contract

Sep 15, 2016

More than 3000 Detroit teachers are close to a new contract.

Detroit Federation of Teachers members in 94 schools approved the deal this week.

Union leaders say it’s good enough for now. For the first time in a decade, there are no concessions or cutbacks. Most teachers will get modest bonuses.

“We’re not jumping up and down, hollering that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Because I believe and I know that our teachers deserve more,” said DFT Interim President Ivy Bailey.

“But when you have been starved by Lansing, it is what it is. The district does not have the money that they need.”

After a bankruptcy-style restructuring this summer, the teachers now work for a new entity called the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Lansing provided $150 million in start-up funds for the new district, but nearly all that money went to pay off debts the old district racked up under a series of state-appointed emergency managers.

A state-appointed financial review commission also needs to sign off on the contract, which could be re-opened after a new elected school board takes over in January.

Otherwise, the district and the union are likely headed back to the bargaining table in the spring.